Srimanta Sankardev

• Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankardeva is a scholar, playwright, social and religious reformer. He is a colossal figure in the cultural and religious history of Assam.

• Sankardev was born in 1449 at Alipukhuri near Bordowa in the present-day Nagaon district. His father was a Shiromani (chief) Baro-Bhuyan. The Baro-Bhuyans were independent landlords in Assam.

• His childhood name was Sankaravara

• His father's name was Kusumvar Bhuyan and his mother's name was Satyasandhya Devi. His parents died in the early stage of his life and he was raised by his grandmother Khersuti.

• At the age of 12, he began attending the local chatrasaal (school) and started his primary education under Mahendra Kandali.

• Just after learning the Swarabarnas and the Byanjanbarnas, he wrote his first verses which are known as karatala-kamala.

• According to legend, could swim across the mighty Brahmaputra with ease.

• His teacher Mahendra Kandali changed his name to ‘Sankardev’ as a mark of respect.

• Sankardev completed his study in the school by 1465 and return home to attend to his responsibilities as the Shiromani Bhuyan.

• He moved from Alipukhuri to Bordowa and married Suryavati. But she died giving birth to their daughter, Manu. When Manu turned eleven, she was given in marriage to a young Bhuyan scion named Hari.

• In 1481, Sankardev began his first pilgrimage journey. His pilgrimage covered almost all the major sacred sites like Puri, Mathura, Rameswaram, and Benares. After traveling for about twelve years, Sankardev returned home. He decided to propagate neo-Vaishnavism in Assam after returning home.

• After his return, he refused to take back the Shiromaniship. On his grandmother’s insistence, he married Kalindi at the age of 54.

• It was around 1494 that the first Naam Ghar was constructed by Sankardev where he began teaching the residents about Bhakti.

• In the meantime, the Baro-Bhuyans were getting weak politically and Bordowa was attacked by the neighboring tribes. Sankaradeva had to move again from place to place. He met his spiritual successor Madhavdev at Dhuwahat.

• But Once on the charge of dereliction of duty, Sankaradev’s son-in-law Hari and Madhavadev were arrested. Later Hari was executed. Madhavadev was imprisoned for a year. He was also ordered to arrest and imprison. This incident pained Sankaradev. Sankardev and his followers escaped from the Ahom kingdom and went to Koach kingdom.

• After a great deal of moving, Sankardev settled at Patbausi near Barpeta in the Koch Kingdom. At Patbausi, he constructed a Kirtanghar.

• In 1550, Sankardev once again left for a pilgrimage for six months.

• Koch military general Chilarai was instrumental in keeping Sankardev safe and supporting his work. Many of Sankardev's literary and dramatic works were completed in his domain with his patronage and protection.

• In 1568, after leading an eventful life dedicated to enlightening humanity, Mahapurush Sankardev breathed his last at the age of 120 in Bheladonga.

• His major literacy creations include ‘Kirtan Ghosa’, ‘Gunamala’ etc.

• The dramas written by him are known as ‘Ankia Naat’. It is a form of a one-act play. These plays were written in the Brajavali language and are primarily centered on Krishna.

• The ‘Sattras’ which were established by Sankardev becomes a hub of the religious, spiritual, and cultural life of the people of Assam.

• Sankardev first conceived and developed the Sattriya dance. It is now among one of the recognized classical dance forms of India.

• Sankardev first introduced Borgeets. The Borgeets are devotional songs and sung in various raga styles. Sankardeva composed about two hundred and forty borgeets, but a fire destroyed them all and only about 34 of them could be retrieved from memory.







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